Second half sinks Dragons on Senior Day 38-16

Nick Watson and the Dragons fell in their regular season finale against Findlay 38-16.
Nick Watson and the Dragons fell in their regular season finale against Findlay 38-16.

The day started off just as Tiffin University would have wanted.

But the final three quarters were disastrous for the Dragons and their fans, as Findlay defeated the Dragons on Senior Day 38-16. The loss finishes the Dragons regular season with a 9-2 record, 6-2 in the G-MAC. The Dragons were ranked 8th regionally coming into the game, and a victory would have increased their chance at a postseason berth.

The first quarter was all Tiffin as it put up 13 unanswered points. The Dragons took their opening possession of the game and put together an 89 yard drive that finished with a Kyle Brunson 7 yard touchdown run to make the score 6-0 at the 5:58 mark.

Tiffin then used good field position on their next drive, starting at their own 40 and moving 60 yards in four plays. Nick Watson hit Charles Holland with a 25 yard touchdown strike and as the quarter ended it was 13-0, Tiffin.

Findlay turned the tides in their next two possessions. A 74 yard drive led to an 11 yard TD pass to bring Findlay within 13-7 and, after a three-and-out by the Dragons, Findlay drove 65 yards on four plays before a 9 yard TD pass gave the Oilers the lead 14-13 at the 8:56 mark of the quarter.

Tiffin looked set to seize the momentum back, driving from their own 25 yard line down to the Findlay 7 yard line. But an incompletion and a sack for minus-3 yards forced TU to settle for a 28 yard field goal from Joe Harakal with 2:03 left in the half. Still, TU had regained the lead 16-14.

Little did they know that it would be the last time they would score in the game.

The Oilers finished the half by making a statement, pushing 60 yards in 5 plays in 1:20 before Adam Bertke hit Jason Moore on a dramatic 19 yard TD reception, with Moore just keeping his feet inbounds and sending the Oilers to the half with a 21-16 lead.

Findlay's punishing ground game started to leave its mark in the second half, as they ate up 5:14 before booting a 24 yard field goal to expand their lead to 24-16 at the 6:45 mark of the third quarter. 

The Dragons mounted a solid drive at the end of the quarter. TU moved from their own 33 to the Findlay 14 before Watson was intercepted as time ran out to kill the drive. The Oilers made TU pay for the miscue, as Demondre Banks busted up the middle for a 57 yard TD run to open the final quarter and put UF ahead 31-16.

Still, with nearly 14 minutes remaining, it was not too late. The Dragons again put a drive together starting at their own 25 and moving to the UF 25. But again a costly interception killed the drive, as the Oilers picked off Watson on the 5 yard line.

Findlay finished off the victory on the ensuing possession, driving 95 yards over the next 5:27 before connecting on a 8 yard TD pass and push their lead to 22 points.

TU, which was outscored 38-3 over the final three quarters, allowed 323 yards rushing to the Oilers. TU was outgained 485 to 344 in total offense. TU went 4 for 11 on third downs, with Watson getting sacked three times with 2 interceptions.

Overall Watson finished 20 of 36 for 204 yards and a TD, with Holland accounting for 110 of those yards on 10 catches. Gavin Woods had 47 yards receiving, while Brunson rushed for 71 yards. Watson also rushed for 57 yards, accounting nfor 261 yards of offense.

Defensively, Chrystian Watkins had 14 tackles while The-Moor Kelly had 11. AJ Wright had 8 tackles with a forced fumble, Jacob Williams notched 7 stops, and Zach Goecke had 5.